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Amsterdam Night Photography

This post was originally published 07.01.2017.

In this blog is for the photographers of you who never tried making HDR photography (High Dynamic Range). HDR means to make a series of shots with low, medium and high shutter speed (so called bracketing) and then compose them into one single image using the contrast range of all single shots (tone mapping). The picture below i made from three single shots that I took in Amsterdam a few days ago.

For the composition I shot three pictures, each with a different shutter speed while keeping aperture and focal distance the same. You can set the shutter speeds manually or use a bracketing option, which is meanwhile offered by many cameras. It is very important to use a fix camera stand in order to get sharp images especially at low shutter speed. Minor deviations in position between the images can be aligned automatically in the HDR post-processing.

The depiction below shows the three images that were taken.

For computing of the three pictures to the final HDR image you can use different programs. I am using Affinity Photo with its tone mapping functionality, also you might use HDR Efex Pro which is part of the NIK Collection and offered by Google for free.

On the resulting image I do some further post-processing to increase the brilliance of the image, my workflow follows these steps:

- Graduation and white balance (Affinity Photo)

- Sharpening (NIK Sharpener Pro 3)

- De-Noising (Topaz DeNoise)

- Brilliance, dynamic contrast, skylight filter (NIK Color Efex Pro 4)

- Additional layer with b/w-image with enhanced structure (NIK Silver Efex Pro 2) blended with luminance blend mode

- Final work on light guiding (dodge and burn, graduated blending)

The sky and moon was blended from another picture of this series (with less foreground light):

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